Thursday, September 20, 2007

A Well-Balanced Cultural Saturday

Experts say people should always eat well-balanced meals, advice I also like to apply to my cultural life.

Last Saturday, I started the day by reading "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy, and I finished the day humming the tunes of "Mary Poppins." A well-balanced day, by all accounts.

If you haven't read it, "The Road" is the Pulitzer Prize winning book detailing post-apocalyptic life in the U.S. It is bleak, bleak, bleak. If falling ash, gray skies, lack of life and total desolation is your cup of tea, go read this book. It is a haunting book that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life.

I've decided that the next time I'm really depressed, I'm going to read this novel again because I'm sure to conclude that no matter how bad I think my life might be at the moment, it wouldn't be in the same league as life in this book.

However, the book also forces the reader to evaluate their life, how they live it and what they're living for. It might also inspire some people to prepare emergency readiness kits. I took one crucial piece of advice from this novel: when you see the mushroom cloud, begin to fill up all of your tubs with water.

Having finished this bleak (but good) book Saturday morning at 10:30, I needed some sort of antidote to bring me back to normalcy. So I decided to go see "Mary Poppins" in the West End.

Mary Poppins was one of my most favourite movies growing up. London! Royal Parks! Dancing Penguins! Little did I know that 30 years later that would be my life-- other than the dancing penguins. Being an American, I had no idea that Dick Van Dyke's accent was so atrocious (though now it makes me wince). I still know all the words to "A Spoonful of Sugar" and "Supercalafragalisticexpedaladocious." And since the musical is closing in early January, this was my last chance to see it. Luckily, I had young boys at the ready to drag along to the show, so I wouldn't be this sad thirtysomething sitting alone in the audience, singing along to the shows.

Thanks to my good friends at TKTS, I was able to score half-price tickets for the matinee that day for Thing Two and me. I extended the invitation to Thing One, but he was keen to go out with his dad. Our seat were in the stalls (the orchestra, for my American friends), but we only paid £30 for £60 tickets. One of the many perks of living in Greenwich is that we were only 30 minutes away from the theatre (including the walk from the train station), so getting there was easily done.

The musical was magnificent. The acting was a little wooden, sure, but you soon forgot about it when you saw Bert dancing on the walls and the ceiling of the stage-- my favourite bit-- and Mary Poppins flying over the audience. The staging alone was worth the price of admission. (Well done to my friend Pat, who worked on putting together the staging when it opened in 2004). It was a completely over-the-top musical with singing and dancing as only the West End and Broadway can do.

I loved it, as did Thing Two. And by the end of Saturday, I had managed to partake in a well-balanced cultural meal.

1 comment:

RandomReality said...

I don't know what Oprah was thinking, picking that DEPRESSING book. I only looked at it in the bookstore and wanted to double up on my meds. Listen, if I need to be depressed, all I have to do is remember that George Bush is my president.